Creating a new religion
The story of Nikos:
Nasos was retired. Due to my work however, I could not meet with him as often as he wanted. Thus, I thought it would be good to introduce him to Petros, so they can meet and discuss things without me; Nasos became over enjoyed. As time went on, these meeting were progressively increasing, until my mother gave up her ‘witness’ identity. Then she also began to miss the gatherings, so she provided her house where we could all meet once a week to study the Holy Scripture. In the beginning, our gathering consisted of five people. Later on Petros wife, whom we convinced to throw away the icons of her orthodox faith, joined us and continued to come with us. At the same time, one more former ‘witness’ lady began to attend; now and then former ‘witnesses’ we knew from Athens joined us.
We prayed to God and asked him to help us with His Holy Spirit to accept the truth, whatever it happened to be. Thus, we were studying with an open mind without being bound to the biases of our old religious groups. When we began, our only dogmas were that we accepted “only what the Holy Scripture says” and dogmatism. In other words, we were accepting as Christian ‘brothers’ all those who were accepting Jesus Christ as their savior, regardless of whatever else they believed and what sort of religion they belonged to. However, our meetings proved to be a real battleground. Each one was showing up with all the ‘baggage’ of his old religion and he was ready to defend these positions to the end. When however someone would present something irrefutable from the Holy Scriptures, we were all accepting it. Thus, as the days went on we were agreeing on more and more topics.
The first topic, which found us in agreement, was the meaning of new heavens and new earth. We understood this to be a new Earthly Environment for man where he would live with incorrupt body and not as souls, as some ‘evangelicals’ believed with who were acquainted with. This helped us to understand that the Lord Jesus Christ resurrected with his body, and He will return to Earth with His incorrupt body at His second coming. Then the Earth will change and will become incorrupt, a New Earth. In reality, Nasos already knew all this, along with many other things. His problem however was that he could not provide proof for them,
Thus, whatever I agreed upon I volunteered to organize in written form along with its scripture proofs. Rather quickly we progresses beyond Friskoulas and his group, which began to disassemble, forming smaller off shoots in different areas.
During the commencement of our organized meetings, a man entered our life that was highly influential; towards our future journey. His name was Panagiotis. He was a former ‘witness’ born from parents who were also ‘witnesses’ and his origin was from Salamina. His sister was the woman who was attending our gathering. This man entered the organization by Gods concession and he came out miraculously.
When he was small some neighbors took him to their home pretending they wanted to see him, however they had everything set and they baptized him Orthodox unbeknownst to his parents. He remembers not wanting to go to ‘witness’, meetings when he became a teenager however he saw Vlassis in a dream before he even met him. Thus, when he met him in real life, he accepted this as proof that God wanted him to lead him in the organization of ‘Watchtower’.
Therefore, he was baptized as a ‘witness’ and he was taught much from Vlassis. Finally, he left for Canada, where he served the organization as a ‘presbyter’, creating his own congregation with eighty individuals. At that time however, he found some errors in the organization and after some prophetic visions, showed to him by the Lord, he made his Exodus from there along with forty other ‘witnesses’.
Since then he lives an admirably life full of wondrous events, with which the Lord is leading him towards a progressively more correct journey. Thus, at the time after the Lord’s commandment (commanding of him), he came to Greece and we met. He baptized his sister, Petros and his wife and I introduce him to my friend George, whom he also baptized.
The funny thing is although I introduced them I saw him much less than everybody else. He went to the meetings of Friskoula, where he spoke to them at great lengths and he made Friskoulas glorify God with tears for his activities.
However, some former ‘evangelical’ who was attending Friskoulas meetings, influenced him and later convinced him that not all these signs were from God. Thus, few of us were convinced that miracles have not ceased in our times.
When Panagiotis went abroad, I began to question myself if I needed to be re-baptized. From my studies I understood that the Christian baptism is not a “baptism of dedication” like that of the ‘witnesses’ but baptism “from the remission of sin” (Acts 2:38). Therefore, I asked George to baptize me, since he had already been baptized from someone I trusted. He told me that he would answer me soon. He did not tell me this, but during that short span of time, the Lord had direct contact with him and his wife. He was speaking to George and he would confirm it to his wife.
Therefore, they asked the Lord if it were his will for George to baptize me. He gave His consent and in reality I was baptized at a celebration gathering where I had invited dozens of former ‘witnesses’. Before he baptized me, he asked me if I believed that the Holy Spirit is a person, and that Jesus Christ is not a creation.
“I perceive that the Word is not a creation, whatever this happens to be, and that the Holy Spirit is not power,” I replied, as I remembered all my questions “. . . what exactly it is, I don’t know . . .”
“- God will provide” George said, and he baptized me, “in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, for the remission of sin.”
From that day on George began teaching sessions with me to help me understand the Dogma of the Holy Trinity. My questions were being answered one by one. He explained to me that when Jesus Christ was speaking as subordinate to His Father, he was speaking as a human being and as having His origin in Him. When he spoke as equal, He was speaking as God. He is undoubtedly the Godman and I saw this in many verses.
I was flabbergasted by the literally thousands of verses of the Holy Scripture referring to Jesus Christ as “Yeweh” (Isaiah 48:12-16; Romans 10:9-14). He gave me a thick book by Nikolas Swteropoulos titles “Jesus the Yaweh”. There, I understood very well who the Lord was. Now I was agreeing with the rest of the people in our gathering that God is triune.
Something else that was highly impressive to me was that the dogma of the Holy Trinity was totally misrepresented to me by the Organization. The Organization taught me to fight the Dogma that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit were the same person. In reality, however, this was the hearsay of Sabellius. The Trinitarian dogma says nothing of this sort. It emphasizes that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are three different persons of one essence; just as if people have the same essence between them, however they are different persons.
The efforts of the Organization were instrumental in our disorientation thus causing us to reject many things for the wrong reason. this was the reason that caused me to suffer from depression in my early days when I realized that some former ‘witnesses’ now began to believe in the Holy Trinity. I was afraid that only false teachings existed outside the organization. Shortly thereafter, the ‘showing’ of the letters I handed out after my disfellowship began to produce fruit. The number of ‘witnesses’ who were finding me and wished to learn more was steadily increasing. Some made their way out of there and some are still there mainly for the family reasons.
Our gathering in Salamina maintained its growth in knowledge and blessings, for two years. During this interval, we already grew to twenty peoples, primarily from the ranks of former ‘witnesses’. We had perceived that the one thousand years Kingdom was already present, and this was leading us to a deeper understanding of the Holy Scripture. We realized that the Holy Scripture had an ‘additional ten books’, beyond those accepted by the protestant and the ‘witnesses’, in the Old Testament and we accepted them. Earlier however, those of us who originated from the ‘witnesses’ understood that the great crowd of the Revelation, proves to be souls, although according to nature it should die during a mans death, it stays immortal by God’s grace. This was the presupposition necessary to understand all the basic eschatology of the Holy Scripture including the ‘one thousand year kingdom’.
Our progress was to such an extent, that people from neighboring congregation of the ‘Pentecostals’ and more of the ‘evangelicals’ were coming and following the lessons of our gatherings. I also had the special joy to baptize two former victims of the ‘Watchtower’, my mother and my grandmother. I also baptized a former old-calendarist (orthodox), who was involved with the so-called ‘Church of Christ’. I met these people from a former ‘witness’ woman, a distant relative of mine, who also departed from the organization shortly before I did. They helped her in the beginning to accept basic Christian dogmas. This particular religion believed that it consists of the re-establishment of the church, which supposedly had fallen into ‘apostasy’ for years.
They never paid attention to the words of the Lord at the end of Matthew that the Lord will always be with His Church all days until the end of ages. Thus we id not give in when they suggested for us to join their religion. They went as far as to offer me to sere as a paid ‘presbyter’ to this local church, which would unite with their religion. Of course, I rejected their offer. Not only did I not wish to be paid for my services to God but I had already detected numerous errors in their doctrine.
For example, they did not accept the baptism of the Holy Scripture, a basic component of the scriptural re-birth. They did not accept that there are future prophecies in the Holy Scriptures. When I mentioned this to one of their ‘presbyters’ his reply was that he personally believed in future prophecies but he wouldn’t admit it to avoid conflict with the ‘co-presbyter’. This last confession especially, reminded me of the ‘witnesses’, awakening inside me all those depressing memories from the dogmatically sordid religion.
The ‘Pentecostals’ also attempted to infiltrate our religion. At the beginning of my search, I had attended their gatherings with an open mind. However, there were many discrepancies with what is written in the Holy Scripture about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and primarily the speaking of tongues. There was a certain disorder and dysfunction at their gatherings, and while those speaking in tongues should do so at the time and only at the presence of someone with the gift of interpretation and discernment, they were all speaking together and without interpretation. The main repellant however was their belief in chiliasm. They essentially believed that the one-thousand year kingdom will materialize in the future and that the antichrist will come after the rapture of the Saints, something totally contrary to (the Holy Scripture) what is stated in the second epistle to the Thessalonians 2, 1-12. There it is clearly stated that the ‘anarchist’ will com first and afterwards the taking up (rapture) will take place, which is in agreement with a plethora of other verses.
For the same reason we did not accept to merge with the ‘evangelicals’. Besides, they were clueless about the subject of re-birth. They believed that someone could be reborn without being baptized, contrary to the words of the Lord to Nicodemos, that rebirth takes place “from water and Spirit.” (John 3:5)
In reality, more and more of the ‘evangelicals’ were attending our gatherings. One day, Nasos brought along one of his acquaintances from Salamina, who was claming that he has a gift from God. Thus, he was speaking Aramaic and interpreting some prophecies. I saw something similar at the ‘Pentecostal’ gatherings that I had attended. So I called on George and his wife, when I learned that they had direct contact with the Lord, and they dropped by. He allowed the ‘charismatic’ to start speaking. at some point while he was under the influence of the spirit which was speaking through him, George with his wife asked him persistently:
“Who is your Lord?”
He immediately lost his words and the spirit left him.
“- Jesus Christ” he then said
“- Not you! We wanted to hear this from the spirit that left!” George told him, who already has used his gift of discernment as seen in 1st John 4:13.
We also researched another ‘Pentecostal’ group, characterized by much more impressive miracles. Unfortunately, they were Sabellianists, and this meant that the wonderworker at their gatherings was not the Holy Spirit, but some other unclean spirit. The Sabellianists, as we said, do not accept that the Father, the son and the Holy Spirit are three different persons, but they are one person, which appears at times as the Father, at times as the Son or the Holy Spirit. Despite their zeal for God, they believed in a God inexistent.
Thus, day by day, we were growing in knowledge, understanding and experiences.